A VWS Core Class, Stratton Rebish

Come 10:30 A.M. when I entered Dr. Hartle’s C block American Idea class, I could immediately tell that I was in for an experience that I have never had before. Even before the start of the period, the class was lively and engaged—something rare in the WSC classes I have been a part of.  

As the lesson began, this level of engagement persisted, and every student willingly contributed to the general discussion at some point during the class. In a WSC class, I would find this outlandish, as most discussions are less balanced and dominated by a smaller portion of the class.  

On the other hand, from my short time sitting in a VWS classroom, I noticed that the learning atmosphere feels more relaxed than I am used to. The students seem more comfortable with each other in the classroom and even have some inside jokes. Also, when a student on Zoom asked for photos of the board, another student was quick to help. 

In fact, when any student made an incorrect statement, they were promptly, but respectfully, corrected, and the class moved on. In a WSC class, students have received a harsh reaction for the same. Additionally, any disagreement I witnessed was organized and civil.  

Dr. Hartle and her VWS students seemed to have a lot of mutual respect, and she could easily reel them in if the discussion veered away from what was intended. Her relationship with her students feels more casual than that of a WSC class, but in a good way.   

During discussions, VWS students and WSC students also focused on different subjects. In my B block WSC American Idea class, much of the discussion was allocated to Kate Chopin’s literary mechanics in The Awakening. The VWS students seemed to lean towards discussing a portion of the book that focused on gender roles and the significance of women in society. 

There were a few times, sitting in the classroom, when I was surprised by the VWS discussion. Many points that my teacher had to intentionally bring up in my WSC class were brought up naturally in the VWS discussion. I was also surprised by the amount of notetaking in the class. Many students took rigorous notes, a sight that is not too common in a WSC class. 

I would say that there are good things going on in VWS classrooms in terms of a healthy learning experience. The atmosphere was refreshing; I was certainly not used to learning like this. It was such a different environment from what I was used to, but it was strangely comforting.